Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson - Intermediate Finger Exercises and RSPBA MAP Tunes

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Captain Horne

Captain Horne

This section of the website has tunes taken from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Asociation (RSPBA) prescribed tune list.

If you learn these tunes, there will be a large number of people you can be sure to find tunes in common with.

The RSPBA update their list from time to time and the versions here followed their original published versions, pending updates in due course.
These videos show the music and you can hear midi generated tracks where the rhythm of the gracenotes and embellishments is maintained in proper interprative proportion. You should try to feel the rhythm and also count it out exactly. Start with the fastest files and as you get better, go to the slower files, as this is a true measure of your security of technique.

Each file is given at two pitches, A and B flat. This reflects the different practice chanter tunings commonly found. Please scroll down to what you need (site updated for smart phone and tablets)

The exercises below are chosen to help with some particual trickiness in each tune.

For more information on how to use these midi files please follow the link on the left.

Five discussion points

1   First high G gracenote bar 1 - this takes up a quarter of the 16th note preceding it (low A). To maintain the heavy weak medium weak beat pattern in strathspeys it is essential to soften the gracing which leads on to the second beat of the bar.
2   Tachum bar 1 - the high G gracenote fits into one third of the preceding 16th note, giving the effect of being a big gracenote. This helps create rhythmical balance and shape in the tune.
3   Throw bar 1 - the D and the C strike are the same length as each other. This is a common trick in strathspey playing as it makes the throw seem heavier without altering the low G (which as in this case isn't really avaialble for alteration).
4   Hara bar 2 - the strike comes up on the beat. Alternatives are possible but this choice has been made for this interpretation, and for playing together. Also, drummers have a variety of options which will match onto this well.
5   High G doubling bar 3 - as with the throw in bar 1, the G and F are the same length as each other to give a little extra emphasis. Listen carefully to the midi files.


Videos to play along with


Low Pitch normal speed

Low Pitch half speed

Low Pitch quarter speed

High pitch normal speed

High pitch half speed

High pitch quarter speed




Five exercises (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)

Exercise 1

mapex11

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 2

mapex12

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 3

mapex14

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 4

ex35

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 5

ex 36
Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed


About this project
Lindsay Davidson
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